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August - 2006 - issue > Entrepreneurship
Aligning Initiatives to Meet Strategic Objectives
Vidya Balakrishnan
Monday, November 17, 2008
Learning from the past, but planning for the future and focusing exclusively on the present is what makes entrepreneurship fun for Prasad Raje, Founder and CEO, Instantis.

Strategizing alliances with leading solution vendors and reinforcing their capabilities by offering world-class methodologies and technology skills, Instantis, an enterprise applications solutions company works on Enterprise Track, a Java-based web application that has been created by a stellar team of engineers with the help of the Instantis’ Application Framework.

Seven years into the industry and with a clientele list of who’s-who, Instantis has never been more effective in providing technology management solutions, bridging the primeval between strategy and execution has been a key issue for customers and prospects who are looking to best improve the value of the Six Sigma programs or any enterprise performance initiative currently in place.

The technology
Instantis’ Enterprise Track is an exclusive web-based solution. It extends the management and alignment of wide portfolios to improve projects of large contributing teams. Combing eight modules within one solution the company uses this underlying application framework making it easy to integrate with other enterprise applications via standard web services procedures.

The solution was designed from the grass root level, to effectively automate the entire process, finance, and measurement and reporting infrastructure. This is a necessity for any Six Sigma or other business improvement initiatives that an organization requires.

“Just as the Vice President of sales needs the sales force automation to track their opportunities and sales people similarly the VP of Six Sigma needs our application to track their Six Sigma projects, their people and their organization’s financial benefits,” says Raje.

Enterprise Track, the solution developed by Instantis assures that every level of the organization is kept informed of the strategic priorities that include project objectives and daily performances.

Project managers can access project data, the teams and the tools directly. This helps them manage and evaluate the real time performance of teams and the wide portfolio of projects effectively.

The beginning
On track since the heydays of the Internet excitement, Instantis made its entry into the industry as a web applications firm. Starting small, the company catered to a large variety of web-based services. Initially, Instantis was building technology for automating the process of building web applications, making it easier and faster for people to build web applications.

From simple applications like interactions on website management, the company hosted and helped firms build web applications without having servers or databases in-house.
Grappling the meltdown in 2001, Instantis decided to change with the world, strategically positioning the company. Searching for a spot of stars in a never-ending stretch of sky, Instantis was already testing waters, trying to make a mark in a market of emerging technologies. With a combination of luck, technology and just one customer, a new version was on its trajectory.
McKesson Corporate, a Healthcare Technology company, approached them with specifications for a six-sigma project tracking application. “Before this we used to build any kind of web application for any company. We lacked focus and a sense of direction. McKesson gave us that direction, ” acknowledges Raje.

After the first round of jitters, the company approached Six Sigma experts who jumped to the idea of a programme to manage strategy and execution portfolio.

They opened the doors towards uncovered vicinity. “We aimed for a star and instead we found a galaxy.” And this was the beginning for Instantis. The system that was managing Six Sigma projects was now utilized for capital projects and strategy projects. Insatntis transited from services to a product based company for good. A single portfolio company that once worked only on Six Sigma transformed to handle multi portfolios.

The success story
McKesson chaperoned them into the Healthcare vertical and several others like Abbot Laboratories, Columbus Regional Hospital, Quest Diagnostics lead them along their journey to success. Since then, Instantis has come a long way serving over 50 of the Fortune 1000 companies. The collective revenue of all of Instantis’ customers amounts to a colossal $600 billion.

Seventy percent of the companies at present use the hosted applications.
Detouring from healthcare, the company has its share of big clientele from the manufacturing and services industries including Xerox, Credit Suisse.

In the words of George Maszle, Director of Lean Six Sigma at Xerox, says Xerox “EnterpriseTrack is a project tracking system that gives us project-management perspective to share knowledge, enabling the members of the organization to search a database for project templates they can replicate. It also is the means to make financial benefits of projects visible for senior management.”

The company ventured into the India market about three years ago. Today it has operations Mumbai and Pune.

With over $30M in funding from leading venture capital that include US Venture Partners (USVP), JK&B Capital, Shea Ventures, Instantis’ customer base has been steadily growing. Instantis has delivered a rate of over 200% annual growth in revenues for 2004 and 2005.

The Formula
Passion to develop and create new products forms the backbone of this entrepreneur. “You have to be passionate about what you do,” he asserts.

Being unique and selling to the customers a product that no one was even offering, could be considered an advantage but that dose not account for everything. The lesson here was simple. Listen to the customer. Luck alone does not help, some amount of preparation goes into being ready when luck comes knocking on the door.

Be it from learning the nitty-gritty of his family business while in the fifth grade or the creating his own company Inter Information Systems, in 1993 while working with HP, all the laws taught lead him towards the making of a successful entrepreneur.

“Be flexible and willing to learn along the way. You can’t be single tunnel focused and react to the times.”

Focus is an important part of developing your business but at the same time focus on the wrong place could be risky. Right identification of the market and target audience is important. Emphasizing on people skills, Raje adds that one has to be an expert in all areas. Emotional quotient is as important as Intelligence quotient for the success of a good entrepreneur. “After all, in a long journey, it’s all about managing the people and their emotions, personalities and expectations,” says Raje. Interestingly, the company’s original staff is still with the management.

“You got be smart, listen to your customers and target them accordingly. The larger the laser focus, the larger customer attraction.”
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